Hands-on AdWords learnings

Thursday, October 30, 2008 | 3:11 AM

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Nationwide, belts are tightening. And in Michigan — home of the auto industry — belts are on just about the tightest holes.

As a way to support the local community, we’ve developed a program in our Ann Arbor office called AdWords in the Curriculum. In the course, Michigan high school and college students learn the ins and outs of Google AdWords. We hope graduates of the course, armed with a new set of skills, will go forth and help Michigan’s companies succeed in a global, technology-based economy.

“What does this all have to do with me?” you may be asking.

In AdWords in the Curriculum, students are assigned local Google Grantees. They work together to apply the students’ new knowledge and implement strategies.

But because most of you don’t necessarily have time to take a class and spend a lot of time experimenting with AdWords accounts, we thought we’d set you up with regular check-ins from the AdWords in the Curriculum students. We want to share their learnings, so that we can all make the most of their newfound experience, and spend advertising dollars wisely.

We'll be rounding up their learnings on a monthly basis here on the blog, so we hope you'll check back in to see what's new in the world of AdWords for non-profits.

To tide you over until the first official check-in, we'll leave you with a quick tip from one AdWords in the Curriculum alumni: Know your audience.

Eastern Michigan University students working with Dawn Farm, a rehab facility, initially targeted drug users looking for help. But when their ads weren't appearing often at all, they soon realized that it's not the addicts themselves looking -- they, of course, don't always realize they need help. Rather, it was loved ones searching, and researching drug effects. So, the students added keywords like 'LSD symptoms' and 'crack effects.' They also wrote ads targeted more toward loved ones, highlighting the informational portions of the site.

Traffic to the site rose by 60 percent.

In this video from Eastern Michigan University's College of Business, an AdWords in the Curriculum professor interviews one of the students about her experience with the Dawn Farms account.